A Staffordshire classic club has done its bit to safeguard the future of both historic vehicles and the planet by achieving carbon neutral status. The Online Austin Seven Club, based in Lichfield, believes it is the first club to achieve such a feat, offsetting the emissions of its vehicles to have zero carbon footprint.    

The club was set up for enthusiasts of Austin Seven cars built between 1922 and 1939, but also caters for enthusiasts of other Austin cars and other marques. It recognised that although older cars do a limited number of miles each year, they produce more damaging gases than modern vehicles. Greenhouse gases such as CO2 contribute to global warming, leading to rising sea levels and interference with weather patterns, which can lead to drought or other extremes of weather.

To become carbon neutral, an organisation must do as much as it can to limit the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that it produces, and counter any that it does emit by such activities as planting trees that absorb CO2 and give out oxygen.

The club’s move to offset its carbon footprint came from committee members Janet and Tim Griffiths.  When visiting Madagascar, they realised they could offset the carbon footprint of their trip by contributing towards a reforestation project on the island. To do this, they calculated that they would need to fund the planting of 55 trees.

Following their trip Janet and Tim proposed that the club should fund the planting of more trees in order to offset its own carbon footprint. Planting can cost around to £30 per tree in the UK, but in Madagascar it’s possible to plant many more trees for the same money and pay towards their upkeep. As the carbon problem is a worldwide phenomenon it was agreed that this would be more effective than planting fewer trees locally.

Tim calculated that by contributing as little as £100 to the planting and care of 1350 trees on Madagascar, the club not only offset the CO2 generated by our classic vehicles for a year, but also that from its modern everyday cars.

“Classic transport of all types holds fond memories for an enormous number of people,” said the club’s press office, Steve Clarke. “It would be a sad day if these vehicles were banned from use, and by offsetting the carbon footprint from them we hope that we are making some small gesture towards the future for our planet.”

You can join the club in planting trees by heading to www.edenprojects.org.